Album Review – Andrew W.K. “Close Calls With Brick Walls & Mother of Mankind” 2010
Apparently Andrew WK is more than one person, which means he can sue himself over what gets released where and when. So, long after anyone really cares what happened to “that Jackass guy”, we get the lost third album bundled with a disc of rare and unreleased material. The augmented liner notes to this re-release are hilarious in their vagueness, referring to the turbulent period in AWK’s career with a maddening inspecificity I haven’t seen since I last spoke with the guys over in Legal.
All this aside, I’ve always had a soft spot for this band’s Springsteen-meets-the-Stooges anarchic schmaltz, so I’m giving it a shot. Close Calls With Brick Walls sounds exactly like you imagine it would, bouncing between the bloody-mindedness of I Get Wet and the Meatloaf-inspired opera of The Wolf while being not quite as good as either. “Pushing Drugs” and “I Want to See You Go Wild” best represent the former with opener “I Came For You” being more Wolf-like.
Not surprisingly, the attached compliation of ten years’ worth of extra material is more of a mixed bag. You can hear the minds at work trying to flounder around for a signature sound, passing through territory formerly occupied by The Beastie Boys, Journey, The Beatles, Talking Heads, Bowie, Danzig , Billy Joel and J-Rock. It’s odd that the demographic who ended up holding the hot potato were fratboy hipsters, because it’s clear through listening to more of this wide-open material that the heart of Andrew WK is show-tune obsessed, sexually ambiguous, New-Wavey and oh-so 80’s. Maybe they only heard the Beasties part.
This double set is for AWK maniacs only, but you’ve probably already downloaded it or brought it in from Japan. The rest of you, stay tuned: we’ll see this on Glee yet. 6 out of 10